From today’s Sentinel:

Council overrides mayor’s veto
Reinstates selected builder for police facility

By Winston Jones
Staff Writer

The Douglasville City Council voted 5-2 Tuesday night to override a mayoral veto and reinstate New South Construction as the contractor for the city’s proposed $23 million public safety and municipal court building.

The vote came after more than an hour’s debate at a special 8 p.m. session at Douglasville City Hall. Mayor Mickey Thompson called the meeting to present his veto to the city council’s March 16 vote to give New South the bid to build the city building.

“It appears to me a majority of the City Council places a greater value on the urgency to move forward quickly over the need to insure that the process of selecting the construction company was accurate and each company was treated fairly,” Thompson said in a prepared statement released Wednesday afternoon. (See separate story for complete text of the mayor’s statement.) (Editor’s Note: This was conveniently NOT online–articles about the library’s storytime, the Dog River Dam, and an article about the tenth anniversary of a pastor took greater precedence, apparently–I’ll try to have it later today.)

Thompson had originally scheduled a back-to-back Wednesday night special council meeting for a second reading of the veto and an expected override vote. This meeting was cancelled.

Shortly after the mayor’s veto statement was read Tuesday by City Clerk Joyce Stone, Councilman Terry Miller made a motion to override the veto. His motion was seconded by Councilman Charles Banks. The council debated the mayor’s veto statement, including about 45 minutes in executive session. Thompson asked for, and the council approved, the executive session because it involved discussion of a city employee.

After re-adjourning from the executive session, the council voted to override with members Miller, Banks, Callye Burk Holmes, John Schildroth and Dennis McLain casting the “yes” votes. Council members Lashun Burr Danley and Mayor Pro Tem Roy Mims voted against the veto.

Thompson defended his veto on two allegations: that the March 16 voting was flawed by the scoring process used and that Douglasville Police Chief Chief Joe Whisenant made contact with council members after the bidding companies had made their presentations and before the council vote.

Whisenant was contacted by the Sentinel Wednesday afternoon, but he declined to comment “at this time.”

In Tuesday night’s public debate, Miller admitted the voting process wasn’t perfect, but said the council got to choose among three nearly equally qualified companies, any of which could do the job.

“I think the mayor and council are trying to turn this into a political game,” Miller charged.

New South barely edged out the other two finalists Heery International Inc. and Holder Construction Company in the March 16 council scoring.

The council is using a QBS (qualifications based selection) bidding process which ranks the bidders on qualifications only and not price. After the top three or four companies are chosen, a committee meets with each company to hear its presentation and view its designs. Thompson said he is opposed to this type bidding.

The 60,000-square-foot, two-story facility will be built on 22 acres of city owned land south of Interstate 20, adjacent to Hillcrest Drive on Fairburn Road.

The council Tuesday night unanimously approved the $50,000 purchase of an additional 2.062 acres located between South Hillcrest Drive and the 22-acre building site to provide additional road access.
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